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Put Christ back in Christmas

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Heads of the Churches of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council

The Right Rev’d C. Leopold Friday; Bishop Robert Rivas, O. P.; Rev. Victor H. Job; Major Henry King.

“Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all people, for to you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.” – (Luke 2:10-11).

These are the familiar words of the Angel who announced to the shepherds and to the world the good news of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. “Behold, I bring you good news”. How often do we hear good news?As we turn on our radio, television set, surf the Internet or read the newspapers, we hear and read of the bad news which make the headlines – bad news of terrorist activity and the war against terrorism; social, political and industrial unrest; natural and man-made disasters that cause death and destruction; disease and sexual promiscuity.{{more}} These are some of the evils that characterize our way of life. We hardly hear of the good news of love, hope, joy and peace. In fact, there are persons who delight in spreading the bad news and deliberately stifle the good news, and so create strife and confusion. Today the St Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council is sharing with you the good news that the Angel announced over 2000 years ago. “To you is born this day a Saviour who is Christ the Lord”.

Our Saviour is Born

Note carefully the titles given to this child that is born. He is the Saviour – the one who has come to die for our sins and to deliver us from all that dehumanize us; He is Christ – the Messiah, the anointed one or the King to rule over us; He is Lord – our Master who owns us, and the God whom we worship and adore. This is what we are celebrating at Christmas time. Does this really mean anything to you? How do we show it in our celebration?

This question is asked because the birth of Jesus means different things to different people.

For most Vincentians the birthday of Jesus is a time to clean out the house, paint, hang up curtains, stock up on groceries and drinks, entertain friends, decorate the Christmas tree, buy gifts for family and friends and go to Nine Mornings activities. There is nothing bad about Nine Mornings activities, but for many persons there is where the celebration ends. We forget the real reason for the season because Jesus is left out. We miss the true meaning of what the Christmas celebration is all about. It is about Jesus. “To you is born this day a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.” Is Jesus really and truly your Saviour, your King and your Lord? Are we really celebrating Him? Are we sharing the good news of his coming with others?

News of Great Joy

The purpose of sharing the good news is to bring joy to others. “I bring you good news of great joy.” Jesus said to his disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). To know Jesus is to know joy to the full. We are living in a sad world. Most of the joy has gone out of life because people have allowed the frustrations and difficulties to overwhelm them. But here is good news for you today – Jesus Christ has come to put the joy back into life. The Christmas tree, the decorations, the parties, the exchange of gifts, the cooking and even the singing of Christmas carols are means by which we find joy in celebrating the occasion. But these are mere external gestures and when all the physical celebrations are over, all that remain are memories. We need something more to sustain us through life – and that is the joy which Jesus gives at Christmas.

To all people

And this good news of great joy is for all people, “I bring you good news of great joy to all people”. Notice to whom this good news of the birth of the Saviour is announced. The announcement was first heard by the shepherds who were tending their sheep that first Christmas day. But the messenger was specific; the good news was not only for a select few, not just for the shepherds, not only for the religious or the people who go to church, but for all people. All people everywhere are invited to put their trust in the Savior whom God has sent into the world.

Sharing the joy

So this good news is to be shared with others. In this country of ours there are some positive things which give us cause to be joyful. There is freedom of expression without infringing the rights of others; there is freedom of religion and respect for life; more and more citizens have greater access to education; the rate of literacy is increasing; the general standard of living is improving as seen in the homes in which we live, the cars that we drive and the cell phones that we use.

At the same time we live in a society in which there is political polarization, poverty, crime and violence; domestic abuse and indiscipline; the aged are neglected; the sick need greater care; HIV/Aids is devastating our young people. Why is all this taking place? Is it because the Land of the Blessed is losing its ability to love, to care, to empathize, to be touched by the human suffering and the needs of others especially our own sisters and brothers? Is it because we are so concerned about ourselves that we cannot see the needs of others? Our response to the good news of Christ is to share the joy with others. The good news is that “God loved the world so much that he gave His Son.” It is that love of God that we must give in tangible ways so that the less fortunate in our midst can experience the joy that Christ gives.

Accept Him as Your Lord and Saviour

The good news about the Saviour is for you and me. The good news is that Jesus came and He still comes to all people. He comes to anyone with a heart humble enough to receive him as Saviour and Lord. You can know this great joy this Christmas if you believe the good news that Jesus came for you and if you accept Him as your Saviour and Lord. Let us be careful that in all our celebrations we do not shut him out. May we invite him to come into our lives, our homes, and our nation. “Come into my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for you.” May this be our prayer this Christmas.

The Christian Council wishes you a blessed Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

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